The Latest: Bells ring as pope arrives for Panama Mass

The Latest: Bells ring as pope arrives for Panama Mass
Catholic faithful stand outside the Apostolic Nunciature hoping to get a glimpse of Pope Francis, in Panama City, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. Francis will turn his attention to the country's priests and religious sisters on Saturday as he reaches the midway point in his five-day Central American visit. (AP Photo/Tito Herrera)

PANAMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis’ visit to Panama (all times local):

9:15 a.m.

Bells are tolling in Panama City’s historic center as Pope Francis arrives to celebrate Mass at the city’s main cathedral.

At the halfway mark of his four-day visit, Francis will dedicate the new altar of the Santa Maria la Antigua basilica during Saturday’s Mass and then have lunch with youths in town for World Youth Day. In the evening he’ll celebrate an open-air vigil service, one of the mainstays of the Catholic Church’s youth festival.

During the Mass, Francis will be seeking to inspire Panama’s priests and religious sisters — after having sought to inspire Central America’s bishops, politicians and even its young prisoners.

Pilgrims lined the route of Francis’ open-sided popemobile as it wound its way through the narrow streets of the Casco Viejo old town, a Unesco world heritage site.


1 a.m.

Pope Francis has sought to inspire Panama’s young people, its prisoners, its politicians and its bishops. On Saturday he turns his attention to the country’s priests and religious sisters as he reaches the midway point in his Central American visit.

Francis will celebrate Mass in the Santa Maria La Antigua cathedral in the old section of Panama City with the country’s priests and nuns. Later he’ll preside over the final vigil before World Youth Day’s culminating Mass on Sunday.

On Friday, Francis brought World Youth Day to Panama’s juvenile delinquents, celebrating an emotional penitential liturgy inside the country’s main youth prison since the inmates couldn’t participate in the Catholic Church’s big festival of faith outside.